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Saturn Ignition Cylinder Lock Replacement

Car is 04 Saturn Ion-
Key will not turn. Has been iffy for months but now is locked up solid-
Replacement procedure calls for “turn key to run position”-
Any ideas on what to do?
Can I, must I break the lock to remove the old? If so, how is it done with out destroying , doing more damage-
Thank you for any and all replies-

Did you try rocking the steering wheel back and forth while trying to turn the key? The problem will be in the steering column lock, not the ignition lock.

Breaking the lock will not help. It can be removed with a tool called a slide hammer (slammer) but this method is too destructive.

Keep working the steering wheel as Keith suggested. If you have to give up, see a locksmith, not an auto dealer.

Sister has been moving (gently rocking) steering wheel in addition to jiggling the key while trying to turn the key for a month or more- was able to get key to turn until 2 days ago- are you saying the key wont turn due to column lock and not ignition lock? Separate issues?
I never encountered this problem before so I appreciate all your advice.

Yes, the column lock most likely is the problem though there is a small chance that the column lock damaged the ignition lock or that the part of the column lock that blocks the ignition lock from turning (the fork) broke off and is stuck in the ignition lock.

I think you can get to all this by removing the plastic panels that surround the steering column. You should not have to break anything.

It might help to jack up the front end so there is no tension on the steering column, then center the wheels between the extremes of of the column lock.

Keith- Thank you very much- wont be able to get to the car until this week end but now I have a much better plan of action and what to look for.

PS- SteveF- Also good advice- no dealers

Disconnect the battery.

Remove the air bag fuse from the body control module fuse block.

Remove the steering column shrowds.

Turn the ignition switch to the run position.

With a small allen wrench or simular sharp point tool depress the lock pin in the second pin retaining hole and pull the lock cylinder out slightly.

With the same tool depress the lock pin in the first retaining hole and pull the lock cylinder partially out.

With the same tool depress the pin again in the first hole and remove the lock cylinder.

Installation is the reverse of removal.


Once again I thank you all- Can’t wait until Sunday when I get to go and replace that lock!